Author Archives: Alice Dale

Using music in the teaching of modern foreign languages

Lesson Plan – Linking music with modern languages 

Class/Group: P4    Lesson: French         Date: 21/9/18

Previous Experience

Brief introduction to the verb etre (to be)

Working towards outcomes of a Curriculum for Excellence

I explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and show understanding and enjoyment by listening, joining in and responding (MLAN 2-01a)

Responsibility of all – Literacy/Numeracy/ICT/HWB (where appropriate):


Learning Intention Success Criteria
  • To be able to understand the meaning of etre
  • to be able to engage with a song
  • to be able to use appropriate punctuation
  • to be able to work well with a partner


  • I understand the meaning of the verb etre
  • I can sing the verb endings of etre
  • I can respond to the teacher
  • I can use correct pronunciation
  • I can work together with a partner







Resources  Etre song on YouTube, worksheets


Timing   Assessment methods



15 mins










35 mins




5 mins



Setting the context/Beginning the lesson (Introduction)


  • Introduce the etre verb again
  • write the verb endings on the board
  • explain to class what each phrase means
  • speak the verb ending patterns together
  • show song on youtube
  • play a couple of times for repetition
  • sing the French and ask the class to sing back the English translation
  • split the class into two and one half sing the English and the other the French (do this a few times and take it in turns)




Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

  • use ‘Je suis’ and practice finishing the sentence with the class e.g. ‘je suis content’, ‘je suis fatigue’
  • make a bank of words on the board
  • get the class to practice saying phrases to their partner using help from the board
  • give out worksheets for pupils to complete where they have to match the French phrase with the english
  • share answers together with the class

 Ending the lesson (Plenary)

  •  look at the song again and sing together
  • check to see if pupils have improved and have the verb in their head







Success Criteria Results Next steps for the children




















Going well (what worked and why?)



















Areas for development (what didn’t work and why?)
Next Steps for Me











My Trip to the McManus Art Gallery and Museum

On a dull, wet afternoon, I decided to take myself to the McManus Gallery in Dundee’s city centre. The beautiful, 150 year old building is situated in Albert Square, Meadowside in Dundee.

Inside the museum is a range of different displays spanning over 400 million years telling the city’s fascinating history, ranging from the skeleton of the famous Tay Whale to Rossetti paintings. Art, history and nature have been combined to make a wonderful and unique experience for people of all ages.

After visiting the McManus myself, I can see it as being a really influential and eye opening trip for young people to experience. I would plan the trip for primary 5 pupils whilst studying ‘The History of Dundee’ as their topic. The visit would be most effective during the topic so that pupils have some sort of idea of what they have been learning and put it into reality. They will also have a clearer picture in their heads of what they have been learning and can then talk and write about what they have seen – they can understand the reasoning behind their learning and this will help them to understand future learning.

When the pupils arrive at the McManus they will look around the museum and galleries and pick one area/topic to focus on. They can take photos of objects or displays using the school cameras as well as taking any important notes on information they see as significant. This will improve their note taking skills as they will have limited time, therefore they will need to only take note of what is important and in limited detail. Pupils will then link their findings with one aspect of the topic they have previously studied.

Possible Experiences and Outcomes:

  • By exploring places, investigating artefacts and locating them in time, I have developed an awareness of the ways we remember and preserve Scotland’s history. (SOC 1-02a)
  • I can use evidence to recreate the story of a place or individual of local historical interest. (SOC 1-03a)

On the return to school after the trip, pupils will write a newspaper article about their visit and their chosen topic including their photos.

Relevant Interdisciplinary Links:

  • Health and Well-being – safety on the school trip (getting on and off of bus, walking in the streets), manners whilst wandering the museum
  • I am learning to assess and manage risk, to protect myself and others, and to reduce the potential for harm when possible. (HWB 1-16a)
  • I know and can demonstrate how to travel safely. (HWB 1-18a)
  • Technologies – using cameras correctly.
  • I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. (TCH 1-01a)
  • Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts. (TCH 1-02a)
  • Literacy – Taking notes correctly, learning how to write in short hand, writing the article using the correct layout.
  • I can write independently, use appropriate punctuation and order and link my sentences in a way that makes sense. (LIT 1-22a)
  • I can present my writing in a way that will make it legible and attractive for my reader, combining words, images and other features. (LIT 1-24a)

Before heading out on the visit, I would allow the class to take some time to note down any questions they would like to find out the answers to about Dundee’s history. The key questions children will be aiming to answer throughout their visit may include:

  • What animals used to roam our area?
  • What were the lives of early man like?
  • How have people and the city developed over time? (there is a model of the old town in the McManus which would be an effective visual aid for children, making the facts come to life)

After the class have completed their newspaper articles, they will each present their findings and what they have learned in small groups whilst asking one another questions and sharing their experiences. A selection of the pupils work will then be displayed on the classroom walls.

A Memorable Learning Experience

In primary seven I was in a class of P.5-7 pupils as my school was very small, with just nine of us in my class of P.7!

We completed many different topics and projects over my time at primary school – some being whole school topics and some just class based. One topic in particular stands out for me and has stuck with me and that is a topic about movies and actors/actresses. We researched different movie types and eras as well as looking at famous actors and their biographies and learned about the Oscars. The name of the topic was The V.I.B (Very Important Bear) instead of VIP (Very Important Person). The bear – which the teacher brought in to class and named Buddy – was the main object of the topic. Each pupil took it in turns to take him home for a night and was asked to do different activities with him and take photos for evidence. Thinking back to this now, I think it would have been a more suitable activity for early year pupils as when I was in P.7 I felt as though it was rather childish. However, it was still a nice idea.

The main aim and outcome of the topic was to be able to make our own movie. The class teacher divided us into random groups so that we were working with peers that we wouldn’t necessarily choose to be grouped with. Even though at the time I wasn’t completely happy with my group, by the end of the topic my confidence in working with people out with my friendship group had increased as well as my ability to work well in a team. I was given the role as team leader and so my job was to ensure that each group member had their own job after we had written the script for our mini movie. There was a range of different jobs – set design, costume design, music director, camera man etc.

The rule of our films was that us as pupils were not to be in the film – it had to star Buddy the bear as the main character alongside different toys which we all had to bring from home including other teddy bears, dolls and barbies.

After yesterday’s introduction to Developing Effectiveness in Learning and Teaching and looking at Interdisciplinary Learning, I can see now that the concept of IDL was brought into this topic as we had to use and link a lot of different skills together to be able to produce the end result – computing skills, art and design and literacy skills were included alongside others.

To finish off our topic, we had an Oscar’s event in the school where our family came to watch our films and we were asked to dress for the part in fancy dresses and suits. By doing this we felt the part and experienced a glimpse of what is involved in the Oscars and what it might be like. This is why this learning experience was memorable for me as we got to act it out for ourselves instead of solely being taught the information. Also, being able to make our own films let us experience and appreciate all the work that goes into film making, all the different people involved and all the types of jobs undertaken as well as being very enjoyable!

Science Literacy

When one is scientifically literate, they will realise and understand the scientific ideas and methods required to take part in everyday life. Throughout our lifetimes we regularly hear stories about many different issues around the world, such as global warming and new medicines and drugs that have been invented to apparently improve the quality of life. As a scientifically literate person, one must be able to answer things that they question by investigating the answer. These questions come from our inquisitiveness in everyday life.

Scientific literacy suggests that a person can recognise scientific concerns underlying local and national choices and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. One who is scientifically literate can display positions that are scientifically and technologically well-versed. They are also able to look at scientific statements and evaluate them by studying their source and procedures, and use this in such a way that they can then put forward arguments to reach a conclusion.

Being science literate means not believing the first thing you hear before you have surrounding evidence to the fact. In 2002, BBC news reported that German scientists had found out that blonde hair would become extinct within the next 200 years as it is a recessive trait. It stated that for “a child to have blonde hair, it must have the gene on both sides of the family in the grandparent’s generation” (BBC News, 2002)

The New York Times, found out later that year that no actual study had been done. Despite this revelation, the study continued to be cited in publications right up until 2006.

This sparked a panic and instantly everyone knew about this, though it was only one study, which turns out to not have even happened. Therefore, you should not trust any fact unless you find more than one reliable study to support the evidence presented in the fact.

I believe that it is important to teach children how scientific experiments can sometimes be “fixed” to derive a preferred outcome. This, is often to fool people into believing something that isn’t true. For example, on the 1st April 1957 the BBC aired a ‘Panorama’ programme which hoaxed thousands of viewers to believing that spaghetti was grown on trees in Switzerland which, anyone who is scientifically illiterate would testify isn’t scientifically possible. For children to develop the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts so that they are able to challenge facts they believe aren’t correct then we, as teachers, must teach fair testing throughout the scientific curriculum. I believe that it’s important to enforce to children that they cannot just take the conclusion from their first experiment which they only carry out once. For reliable results they must repeat the experiment several times to ensure that their conclusions are correct. Thus, building their scientific literacy.




BBC NEWS (2002) Blondes ‘to die out in 200 years’ Available at: (accessed 26/01/16)

BBC NEWS (1957) BBC Fools the Nation Available at: (Accessed: 8/02/16)

Reflecting on ePortfolios

After reading some examples of other ePortfolios, I have been encouraged to expand and improve on my own. From reading these posts, I particularly like the fact that they are written about topics they enjoy or based on subjects they have seen or read in other resources. For example Lauren Duncan’s post “567…DANCE!” was written on a subject that she is extremely passionate about but she could then link a lesson plan to the SPR requirements.

Another example is Layla Dawson’s post on Fear of Feedback and she talks about a topic that most of us are afraid of but don’t always talk about. I completely agree with her and understand her opinions on giving feedback and she managed to link this into teaching by talking about how we, as teachers, need to give children constructive feedback and also encourage them to overcome the fear they may have and help them give positive and constructive feedback to their peers.

So overall, all the example posts that I have read clearly show the student sharing their professional thoughts and I feel that others will benefit form reading their work as it may give them ideas of what maybe to write on their own blogs but also I feel that reading these blogs has helped me realise that many people have the same opinions and worries as me about certain aspects of the teaching profession, for example maths and giving feedback. And reading them has encouraged me to write and post more than I do on my ePortfolio and share my thoughts with rest of the course.




Ollerton (2003) says “Mathematics is beautiful, intriguing, elegant, logical, amazing and mind-blowing; a language and a set of systems and structures used to make sense of and describe the physical and natural world”. On the other hand, “Mathematics is frightening,
boring, debilitating and can appear illogical; a thing many people made, or make, little sense of at school”. I believe that most children would agree with the latter.

To me, maths is one of the subjects that many pupils at primary and secondary school really struggle with. I definitely used to dread when it was time for mental maths or working from the Heinemann textbooks. I think that children are insecure about maths for a number of reasons and children’s confidence is dropped when they think other children are better than maths than others. Young children think that if you are good at maths and science, it means you are more clever than those who are more interested in the creative subjects. I believed this for many years, and probably right up to being in a higher maths class in fifth year, where I felt that everyone in the class chose maths because they wanted to be there as they were applying for courses in Maths, architecture and engineering, whereas I my knowledge was stronger in subjects like art and music. I never used to think I would need maths and everything I was learning was pointless, but recently I’ve been thinking and realising that maths is a very important aspect of everyday life and just as important as reading and writing.

Keogh and Naylor (2004) argue “If we want children to “think out loud”, to be creative and critical in their thinking and to argue about alternative possibilities, then we need to provide the kind of learning environment in which they feel comfortable to do that.  They need to know that they can make mistakes or give wrong answers and still feel good about themselves”. I feel we as teachers need to encourage those children who are less confident with maths to become more enthusiastic by supporting them to learn form their mistakes and find different ways of approaching it. Discussing the subject is a way to get pupils more engaged in their learning and find out different strategies and for them to realise that maybe they aren’t the only ones who find maths challenging.

What is practitioner enquiry?

Menter et al (2011) defines practitioner enquiry as a “‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended.” It is the process of constantly continuing research and building on your knowledge. This is then shared through collaborative enquiry where a group shares they’re findings from their research with each other.

Working together collaboratively is very useful as it enhancing teachers knowledge for themselves and learning about different ways of working that they might not have thought about and then to pass onto pupils. However, there are some disadvantages. For example, not everyone might enjoy working in groups and sharing ideas and therefore may not participate as fully as expected, some members may be put of by other confident members of the group and therefore become less motivated.

In becoming a teacher, I understand that I will need to engage in practitioner enquiry and be prepared to work in groups and share my ideas . This seems as though it could be challenging at times but I think it is a very useful way of learning.

The benefits of active learning and co-operative working

To me, active learning is a skill we should all be working on to improve. It is one thing taking notes in lectures but for me, and I’m sure many others would agree, the information doesn’t always go into my head and stay there by the time the lecture has finished.

An effective way to make sure you have understood the content from the lecture would be to read over and write your notes out again soon after the lecture. Copying out the notes again puts information into your head easier as you don’t have the distractions of the lecturer speaking and from your peers. For me, I find it helpful to rewrite my notes in coloured pens or make mind maps and flashcards. Seeing information in a different format sometimes helps.

Co-operative learning for me is working together and helping each other out. Sharing ideas and hearing other people’s ideas and opinions is a really helpful way to collect information and to expand on what you already know. As well as active learning, I think it is really important for us as future teachers to develop our understanding of co-operative learning so that we can then pass on our knowledge and encourage our pupils to learn in a similar way.

How gender stereotypes affected me at primary school

In the book ‘Learning to teach in the Primary School’ by Teresa Cremin and James Arthur, they describe the definition of ‘gender’ as being different to that of ‘sex’. Whereas the term ‘sex’ is used to signify the biological differences between male and female, ‘gender’ describes the patterns of behaviour and attitudes attributed to members of each sex that are an effect of experiences of education, culture and socialisation.

During my time at primary school, I wasn’t greatly effected by gender stereotypes, although I was aware of them and they were definitely there. At primary school age I wasn’t actually aware of what the term ‘stereotype’ really was or meant. I just understood and believed that girls and boys were treated differently.

One of the biggest stereotypes I remember was boys being asked to lift heavy objects into the classroom. The teacher would say something along the lines of “would any strong boy like to volunteer to lift these boxes?” or “I need three strong gentlemen to help me lift this table”, and from a young age it was ingrained into our heads that males were stronger, more dominant characters. The playground was another environment where gender stereotypes were apparent. Girls, for example, would never even think about playing football with the boys. Not because she didn’t enjoy it or wasn’t good at it, but because she had it in her head that football was a ‘boys sport’ and that she would be made fun of if she took part. Vice versa, boys would never play with dolls or take part in a game of ‘mums and dads’ because they would be afraid of being laughed at because those are, stereotypically, girls games.

So, even though gender stereotypes didn’t affect me in a great deal during primary school, they did exist and to some extent, even if I wasn’t aware of it, influenced me into knowing wat was ‘right or wrong’ for either girls or boys to take part in or not.

Why teaching?

All throughout my primary school years, I was influenced by many inspiring teachers. They encouraged me to enjoy learning and to be enthusiastic about it. My primary 4 and 5 teacher was especially inspiring as she encouraged me to want to learn and enjoy coming to school as she made lessons interesting and enjoyable and focused a lot on the expressive subjects as well as on maths, science and English. I became interested in music, art and languages because my teacher was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic in these areas, which again encouraged me to want to explore these areas further and learn more about them. Looking back on my teachers from primary school has encouraged me to want to become an influential and motivational teacher who has knowledge in all subject areas.

In primary 7, we used to go into classes of lower years and nurseries to help out during our break and lunch times. I realized that I really enjoyed working with young children and from observing how teachers taught and behaved inspired me to do something like that as well.

Later when I started secondary school I got involved in activities and modules with helping younger pupils. One module I joined was the working in the community module where I took part in planning and organising activities such as an Easter egg hunt for the local playgroup and again, having had more experience with younger children and helping out in the community inspired me to go into the teaching profession.

I also want to teach in the primary school rather than the secondary school because it would be very rewarding to teach and nurture a child throughout their younger years and to prepare them for the step up to secondary school.